House: Sorry. I can't remember if I've mocked you yet for being a male nurse.
Nurse Jeffrey: I think this counts.
House: Fair enough. (from “Ignorance Is Bliss”)
Patrick Price has appeared in two episodes of the hit medical drama House as Nurse Jeffrey Sparkman: the first time in the 2009 episode “Ignorance Is Bliss” and again in 2010’s “The Choice”. Nurse Jeffrey’s subtle, sarcastic retorts to House’s barbs are rivaled only by Nurse Brenda Previn’s (who, sadly, has not been seen at her station at Princeton-Plainsboro since 2006). Jeffrey’s unflappable manner in the face of House’s abuse garnered him many fans who, it seemed, could not get enough of him. A campaign was launched on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which put pressure on House producers to make him a regular cast member. It seemed his limited amount of screentime on the show was not enough for those who wanted to learn more about what made Nurse Jeffrey Sparkman tick.
A solution was found, which benefited both the show and the character: a series of iPhone/iPad Appisodes entitled “The Nurse Jeffrey Bitch Tapes” were created by the House writers and producers. According to Katie Jacobs, executive producer of House, “An Appisode is an episode of TV that doesn’t appear on TV, only on the app. Fans can download the Appisode for free and get original content linked to that Appisode. The Nurse Jeffrey Bitch Tapes will ‘air’ each week in House’s time slot. These Appisodes will run over the course of the long summer hiatus, keeping the show and Nurse Jeffrey alive in the hearts and minds of the viewers.
“I think the fans are going to be really surprised. “ Mr. Price says. “They’re going to see stuff they’re never, ever going to see on the show.”
The first Bitch Tapes Appisode, released on May 24th, confirms this. Nurse Jeffrey begins by informing us that he has submitted a formal complaint to Human Resources against “Dr. House and his abusive behavior”. He then goes on to describe how H.R. dismissed him. “Rudeness is a waste of our time” is how he paraphrases their long-winded response. Dissatisfied by this lack of concern for his plight from The Powers That Be, Nurse Jeffrey decides to take matters into his own hands and sends out a warning to House: “Dr. House, hear me, mark my words. King of Metaphor, I’m the Dark Prince of Cliche. You’re not the only one who can bring the pain. My name is Jeffrey Sparkman. I’m a nurse at Princeton-Plainsboro…and this is my bitch tape”.
From there, silliness abounds with Jeffrey attempting to coerce others, beginning with a hapless cafeteria worker (who has been making House’s Reuben sandwiches for six years), to join in his plot to bring the great doctor down. After a frustrating, yet amusing, back and forth with this somewhat uncooperative colleague, Jeffrey must concede defeat but he leaves us with the promise that this isn’t over and to “stay tuned. It’s going to get a little bumpy.”
I have hopes we’ll be offered more information about the Appisodes as the series goes on. How about an interview with the writers or a few behind the scenes looks at the making of the Bitch Tapes segments?
If you’re a House fan and already lamenting the long wait for new episodes, give these three-minute Appisodes a try. There’s a good chance you will enjoy this smart, entertaining trip down the backroads of the House universe.
The InHouse app is available free of charge from iTunes for the iPod, iPod Touch, and iPad.